2011 Trafficking in Persons Report Released

June 29, 2011

The Trafficking in Persons Report released by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton this week shows that we are moving backwards in ending slavery in the world. The report details human trafficking in 184 countries including the United States.

Secretary Clinton’s letter stated in part:
“In this decade of delivery, we must ensure that our efforts continue to address all forms of trafficking, whether for sex or labor, internal or transnational, or affecting men, women, or children. We must prevent this crime by forging partnerships that will hold source countries responsible for exploitative recruiting and ensure that destination countries employ vigorous victim identification efforts and forcefully prosecute traffickers. We must work with industry leaders so that consumers can know that the products or services they buy come from responsible sources. And we must improve the capacity of governments to protect victims and hold traffickers accountable. Countries known for well-established adherence to the rule of law cannot just rest on their laurels, but must work to deliver the justice and services that trafficking victims deserve.

This annual Report embodies the United States’ continued dedication to fighting traffickers no matter where they may be, because fighting slavery and standing up for human rights is part of our national identity. For the girls in the shelter – and for all those who have been victimized by this crime – we will remain steadfast in our efforts and truthful in our assessments. We must deliver on our promises to protect victims, punish abusers, and restore the lives of survivors so that someday they will have the opportunity to realize their God-given potential.”
As always, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ abuses was highlighted in the report, which noted:
In CNMI, there were six reported human trafficking cases involving multiple victims held in clubs, restaurants and massage parlors. A trend was observed involving the cancellation of victims’ return airplane tickets upon admission, stranding them with no financial means to return and rendering them wholly dependent on their employers. During the reporting period, the Federal Labor Ombudsman identified 71 victims of trafficking or fraud in labor contracting, of whom about 20 percent were sex trafficking victims. In 2010, the NGO working on the local anti-trafficking task force assisted 36 human trafficking victims and 40 fraud in labor contracting victims; an additional 31 victims qualified for services but could not be assisted due to insufficient funds.
Such a terrible record for such a small population. The U.S. needs to pay attention to the abuses so far from Washington, DC and to enact policies that will prevent nonresident workers from being chained to their employers and the islands. Granting status to the legal, long-term nonresident workers would help to alleviate the human trafficking problem and eliminate the need for another poorly-run and under-funded federal program in the distant CNMI, including the proposed CNMI-only guest worker program. I predict that such a program will not end the problems that were so prevalent in the corrupt CNMI program, but will merely shift the responsible offending party from the CNMI to the Federal Government.

Human Smuggling Indictment Filed Yesterday in CNMI
Indeed, this week two Chinese were indicted for human smuggling. Honglian Cheng and Li Hua were charged with foreign labor contracting fraud conspiracy, three counts of importation of alien for prostitution, six counts of foreign labor contracting fraud, one count of alien smuggling conspiracy, and six counts of alien smuggling.

They brought six Chinese women to the CNMI under tourist visas with the intent of giving them jobs as prostitutes. The pair promised a work visa after arrival, guaranteed employment and an income of $800 or more a month.

The indictment states that they "Communicated with a CNMI resident over the Internet to arrange transportation and housing for the illegals and themselves. Like all illegal recruiters they took money from the victims as the indictment states:
"In order to come to the CNMI, and in addition to their airfare, Lifei Bian, Chunping Li, and Shoujun Yin paid $4,600.00 USD each, Cuilan Mapaid 30,000 in Chinese renminbi (RMB), and Zhipeng Ren and Zhongjun Yu paid 95,000 RMB each. Some or all of these fees were received by or paid to defendants CHENG and HUA."
The 8 Chinese looked for work on Saipan  -some in a Karaoke bar and some as farmers.

The indictment states:
"Prior to coming to the CNMI on May 30, 2011, defendant HUA and Lifei Bian, Chunping Li, and Shoujun Yin worked in Bahrain as prostitutes. Defendant HUA and Lifei Bian, Chunping Li, and Shoujun Yin eventually left Bahrain for the People’s Republic of China and began seeking employment elsewhere...

...From on or about May 12, 20 11 , to on or about May 27, 2011, defendant CHENG
made arrangements with a resident in the CNMI over the QQ network to find karaoke bars in the CNMI where Lifei Bian, Chunping Li, and Shoujun Yin could work as prostitutes. 
On May 30, 2011, defendants CHENG and HUA and Lifei Bian, Chunping Li, Cuilan
Ma, and Shoujun Yin went to a karaoke bar in the village of Susupe looking for work and inquired whether prostitutes worked at the karaoke bar. 
All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 37 1."
This is exactly the reason why so many opposed the Chinese and Russian visa waivers.

Another question that the indictment raises is who is the "CNMI resident" noted in the indictment that the defendants were communicating with and what karaoke bar was involved in the scheme.

Read the indictment:


Anonymous said...

I am sure (although I have no first hand knowledge) that these abuses take place in the CNMI.
I know that these type of abuses happen in California, Texas, Florida, indeed all over the US. The CNMI victims were brought in legally, or more accurately, with permission from the government. They were misled, of course. In the States the entire industry is underground with illegal, undocumented, victims in the business. While I am not washing my hands of the CNMI, it is a small place with the same problems as other places. There are just fewer people affected.